[Request] Wiki for phpBB

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R. U. Serious
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[Request] Wiki for phpBB

Post by R. U. Serious »

A lot of the forums are used as support forums of some kind. So with the time quite an amount of knowledge is aggregated, but it is spread around the forum. And writing and maintaining a FAQ can be quite a headache.

So maybe somebody wants to make/integrate a wiki with phpBB (Useraccess & Style). I think this would be great! If you are not sure what Wiki is, look here:

http://www.usemod.com/cgi-bin/mb.pl?WhyWikiWorks

Or see the http://www.wikipedia.org/ which is trying to build a hole Encyclopedia with this concept. The Script used there is written in PHP & uses MySQL and is released under GPL.

A couple of Wiki-Scripts: http://www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wiki_software

So, is anybody up for the challenge? :D
owen
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Post by owen »

Why don't you just make everyone a moderator? That's basically what a wiki is: anyone can change anything. :D

Owen
R. U. Serious
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Post by R. U. Serious »

oops, misunderstanding. I don't want the board to be wiki-style.

I want an adddon. It would be sort of like a FAQ, but instead of one or two people, everybody would be involved. Also remember that in the wiki scripts you have things like locking pages, storing all versions and restoring them.ö Also it is very easy to handle, to make references to other (wiki-)documents etc... It would not be a place for discussion. ;)
Svyatozar
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Post by Svyatozar »

Greetings!

Actually, I have been thinking quite a bit about this concept. The easiest way is, of course, to make everyone moderator of the particular forum.

For a serious application, such a webopedia of some kind, however, a way of storing changes is required (changelog created by a diffutils), so if someone destroys an entry, it still can be restored by the moderators or viewed in the entry history. A solution to this would be introducing a new type of message that keeps history of itself when it is in the root of a topic. There are lots of small other things that need to be taken care of, so this would actually be a fairly complex mod.

I am already working on a wiki-mod for phpBB, building project having the most phpBB compatibility in mind. If someone wants to join me - please write me at:

svyatozar at pochtamt dot ru
R. U. Serious
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Post by R. U. Serious »

That sounds great. :)

What I did was make a (very simple) integration of the phpwiki script. http://phpwiki.sourceforge.net/
It was quick and dirty, but it works. And having used it for a while I am now surer than before that a wiki is (or can be) great complement to a forum, if gathering knowledge comes into play (waaay bettter than stickys, always recurring questions etc. etc.).

Can be seen at www.wettlexikon.de or http://stats.fussball-forum.de
Svyatozar
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Post by Svyatozar »

Hehe, that looks neat, but what I really would like is an eventual total integration of Wiki-capabilities into the phpBB. And it requires cooperation with phpBB developers. That could become something amazing: a hands-free system that takes care of your site - it would make complete site with forum creation a childs play, I mean, no PHP knowledge would be required to operate it.

I have a dormant project on Sourceforge called Wiking. http://wiking.sourceforge.net
Im currently working on projecting the forum-wiki integration. I need to talk to the phpBB-guys about the integration perspective, and some technical details. This looks like a huge project for it requires modification of a lot of code in lots of different places, and usually such projects die in the process of bug hunting... lol

Anyway, have good time!

Svyatozar
R. U. Serious
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Post by R. U. Serious »

Hi,

I submitted a feature request for 2.2 at some point. The (understandable) answer was, that such a thing would divert from the original goal of a forum. Unfortunately the feature request tracker is now closed.

I think you are better off writing a module for the phpBB portal project which has yet to start (I guess it will sometime in the RC stages). I suppose these people will be the first to know when the relevant parts of the code will be more or less stable to start working on it. And since a wiki-module would be a really good and useful module they'll certainly be interested in cooperation, I suppose.
Svyatozar
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Post by Svyatozar »

Do you know why people are not so eager to make phpBB mods? Its cause when version 2 came out it was totally incompatible with version 1.4

Thats why I dont want to make a module. I want to deviate the design guidline for everybody to keep the wiki-capability in mind while developing next versions of phpBB.

There is a security-simplicity tradeoff while making certain decisions on wiki architecture. Some wikis keep changelog (diffutils), some dont - I see this an important decision. While introducing security, changes history also somewhat destroys privacy and introduces a severe drawback to the efficiency. However, without one, maintaining a large site can become a nightmare. It is real pain to make decisions of this sort.

One alternative would be moderators approval of the end version, and flushing the history after a moderator looked at the final version. This seems to be a reasonably simple and yet powerful solution.

I still think that a blessing from the phpBB guys is absolutely necessary befor startign such a big project. If they dont want wiki incorporated, then there is no point even trying - better to put up a wiki website up link it to phpBB somewhere.

However, phpBB is probably the most perfect software in opensource, a truly gorgeous piece of code, a golden age in programming and all stuff. If it had wiki technology incorporated that would make it an ultimate website creation tool for everyone, even those who dont know html.

The first step would be to make a phpBB setup with a secureless forum. Then I would add a means of saving copies of old messages to a new table, and keep track of moderators. When a moderator sees a message, the history of that message gets marked for removal. The marked messages in the history get removed on, lets say, that users log-out. Or on some other event.

I hope you got my point. There s basically lots of work ahead - and all that work is for free. Lol!

Best regards!

Svyatozar
R. U. Serious
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Post by R. U. Serious »

Svyatozar wrote: If it had wiki technology incorporated that would make it an ultimate website creation tool for everyone, even those who dont know html.


I agree, and I really do think that it would be wortwhile task, and a powerful software. However I think (and that is totally IMHO) that this is especially what phpBB does not want to be: a tool for everything. It's sort of like a unix philosophy: One tool for one task. phpBB is a forum software, and that's what it will stay. Hence why the need for a portal software has been answered by a seperate project. This is how I view the mindset/goalset of the teamleaders/developers, that's why I think you will have a very hard time convincing them of sth. like that.
Doesn't mean you shouldn't try though. ;)


Good luck, and keep us posted.
Svyatozar
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Post by Svyatozar »

Well, that makes sence. Probably, that strategy has kept them from drowning in bugs all this time. What they should work on is modularity. If they made a core engine, a programming interface, and ability to use their functions as well as user database in other modules, then it would make sence to start creating a wiki module for phpBB right away.

Modularity would severely reduce efficiency of the whole system. And one single module (imagine a chat module) can slow down the whole server.

So, if they like the idea of adding the wiki support into the core - that will be green light for phpBB wiki. Otherwise - I think its hopeless. Better off using a standalon wiki that way.

What else can I say? By the way, what OpenSource projects are you working on now (if any)? Ill definetely post here if I have any news.

I wish you all the best!

Svyatozar
blacklily8
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wiki integration

Post by blacklily8 »

Hi, folks. Just wanted to add that i've been desperately seaching for a way to integrate a wiki into phpbb2. I've got SOME level of integration (i.e., the same username/login), but I'm not happy with the results...

http://mattbarton.net (TAVI and FORUMS)

I think the best approach was what was suggested earlier; just a special forum with a WIKI option that would act differently than the other pages. It's far different than just making everyone a moderator. It wouldn't have "posts," but wiki pages...

I've been using wikis extensively for a few years now and would be happy to describe the concept further to anyone interested in doing a mod.

Let me post the same request I had for the project on another mod site:
I'm an educator at the University of South Florida in Tampa, FLorida--a writing teacher, to be specific. Anyway, one of the applications I use a lot is a wiki, specifically, a customized version of Wikki Tiki Tavi. You can see this wiki in action at http://mattbarton.net/tavi
(you'll need to register on my forums to get full access, they're located at http://mattbarton.net/phpBB2)

Anyway, wikis are fairly new applications, and not a lot of people have tapped their power. I've tried my best to integrate the concept into PHPBB, but my programming skills are far less adept than yours.

Perhaps you could create a mod for phpbb2 to include wikis? What I imagine is that "WIKI" would be added to the menu bar. When a user clicked it, he or she would see a phpbb2-themed screen, except at the bottom would be a wiki. (There should be an EDIT button there so that anyone could edit the pages..)

What makes wikis useful for writing classes is that (a) they store all versions of a student's work. There is also usually a "compare versions" tool that lets me see how the students worked on their documents as they went along. (b) They enable easy peer collaboration. The students can log in, edit each other's work, etc. This is vital.

The features I'd most like to see in my dream wiki are:

a. Full integration with phpbb2. Maybe this would even change the profile page to show a list of all the wikis created or edited by the users. Also, moving to the wiki wouldn't look like a whole new website! I'd also like to retain phpbb2's editor, though, of course, it'd need some new features (the ability to create wiki pages being the most important.)

b. Intelligent security and permissions. Administrators and moderators, for instance, should be able to 'lock' certain pages from being edited. They should also be able to permanently delete a wiki from the database (the 'deprecate' function in most wikis).

c. Good records, statistics, and monitoring features. Most wikis have an Indexing feature, a "View Recent Changes" option, a Search (it'd be nice if this would search phpbb posts & wikis), and, of course, "View History." I'd like to know who created pages, edited pages, when they did so, and be able to compare the difference.

d. Intelligent Editor. Students typically like to draft in Word and bring it into the wiki. It'd be nice, then, to have a good filter or what-have-you to cull out the Microsoft Word codes. There are some other things I need in the editor-- A 'table' feature and a better way to manipulate images.

Anyway, I'm not sure if you'd be interested in taking on a project like this, but I can offer you something significant in return. Next year (around June) I am presenting a paper on Wikis at CCCC, which is the world's biggest conference for professional writing professors and instructors. I'm on a popular panel, so we expect a huge audience. If you will take this on, I'll certainly plug the hell out of you and your work ! I expect that hundreds of compositionists would want something like this for their classes as well.

I'm more than willing to help you develop the product (error-testing, feedback, etc.) Please let me know what you think.

Sincerely,

Matt Barton
R. U. Serious
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Post by R. U. Serious »

That's a lot of things you want there...

I think the problem is, that with requests like using the phpBB-templating feature, having the same "editing-window" & features, and having it use the same search as phpBB, it is more or less impossible to just integrate another wiki. And even when coding starting at Zero, the coder will have to tap into the phpBB code quite a bit, change a lot of it, too. That in turn results in a lot of work keeping the mod up to date with phpBB, as newer versions come out.

Anyway with phpBB2.2 in the works, I doubt that the people with the skill to run such an ongoing project, would start it around this time. phpBB v2.2.x is far enough, that it wouldn't be worth it to go for the current version, but 2.2.x is also not yet far enough to start coding "modules" for it. Hence why the phpBB Portal Team did not start coding yet.

Anyway, I still wish you good luck with that idea. I myself would like to see such a project to be done, as would many others.
blacklily8
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Post by blacklily8 »

Thanks for responding, R.U. Serious. I've spent some time reading the various posts on this forum and realize how frustrating it must have been for mod-makers when the new version was released...I've made a few mods to my setup and would be quite hesitant to upgrade to something incompatible.

I notice that TIKI has a CMS built around wikis that apparently includes a forum as part of its package...The problem with TIKI is that it's trying to be a jack-of-all-trades, and you know what the latter part of that phrase is. I suppose I wouldn't have to totally integrate a wiki; I'd just as soon run other code as long as the users felt as though they were in the same system (maybe play around with the templates and headers to get a wiki that looks similar.)

I've found it's not too hard to pull phpbb data from mysql and use it in the wiki--for instance, usernames and passwords, etc. It probably would only be a small step to also let phpbb list things for users, like the # of wiki pages they've edited, or the like.
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shokk
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Post by shokk »

The php-based MoniWiki was easy to set up and is probably what you need. Not integrated into phpBB, but you can always link off to it from something in overall_header.tpl.
Svyatozar
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Post by Svyatozar »

I totally agree with R.U. Serious. It's like trying to build a ocean-floor based birthday baloon factory. History of changes makes the whole difference between a forum and a wiki. It requires a way of storing all the message versions either in whole or as a list of changes. Also, the search engine will need to be adjusted to keep track of all individual versions of every message. The search result must point to a particular message in the history, not to a whole topic. PhpBB uses a relatively simple search mechanism, yet, I can't say I have anough energy to make even a simple one myself.

What I suggest to phpBB team is to turn their project into a wiki. Wiki can easily act as a forum - it is just a matter of sorting the messages in the output. Trying making a wiki mod for a forum is a worthless effort because of the missing changelog mechanism. Adding one would require to modify the search engine and most of the table structure. Which is basically what I suggested above, namely: turning phpBB into a wiki. By the way, the whole web-portal engine can be built on wiki.

All the best to all hard workers here!

Svyatozar
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